I’ve been seeing posts on Facebook and Twitter all night about the four teenagers who committed suicide because of anti-LGBTQ bullying in this past month. There are no words to express my sadness. I forgot, like all of us forget, how serious a problem suicide is in the LGBTQ community. I mention it a lot because it’s important to me, but when days go by without reading headlines about it, it’s easy to forget that words and statistics are not just words and statistics.
As you may know, I started writing Shades of Gay in 2008 in response to Gavi’s struggle with suicide. Every time I read about another life lost, it reminds me of how close we all came to losing another precious human being, one that I know personally and love very much. I am lucky that I only have to imagine the pain that the families of Seth Walsh, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown and Tyler Clementi now have to endure.
I’m so sad tonight. I wish that these four boys had found someone to talk to, had discovered that it is society and not them that is wrong, had gotten the help they needed before it was too late.
I’ve also been reading some comments on these stories in which people ask what we can do and why we aren’t doing it. I personally believe that it’s possible for each of us to make things better…not necessarily for everyone, but at least for one person. If we could each encourage one person to hang on, perhaps soon the world would be full of hopeful LGBT people instead of people who want to kill themselves.
There are plenty of ways to do that. I choose to do it through writing notes and blogs and novels because that’s where my talents lie. If I lived in New York or California, I would volunteer with the Trevor Project.
If you teach, if you sing, if you make videos, if you repost links to the Trevor Project… that helps.
Whatever you do, do it with love, and try to reach one person today.
“S/he who saves one life saves the world entire.”